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24 July 2018

This event repeats every year forever


The 1960s are often described as a decade of great social change. Attitudes of society to many things changed in that decade. One item that is indicative of this change in attitude was a full page advertisement that appeared in The Times in the summer of 1967. The advertisement championed the legalisation of cannabis. It is inconceivable that such an advertisement would have been published by the newspaper in the prior decade. While still shocking to many, attitudes in the permissive sixties meant that even someone such as William Rees-Mogg, the editor of The Times felt that the readers of the esteemed newspaper could cope with such a shock.
The advertisement (The Times, July 24, 1967) was headed “The law against marijuana is immoral in principle and unworkable in practice.” As well as a large amount of text used to justify the argument, part of the advertisement contained a petition to the Home Secretary signed by many. It is that petition, together with the list of signatories,  that I copy below.
 
The signatories to this petition suggest to the Home Secretary that he implement a five point programme of cannabis law reform:
 
1) THE GOVERNMENT SHOULD PERMIT AND ENCOURAGE RESEARCH INTO ALL ASPECTS OF CANNABIS USE, INCLUDING ITS MEDICAL APPLICATIONS.
 
2) ALLOWING THE SMOKING OF CANNABIS ON PRIVATE PREMISES SHOULD  NO LONGER CONSTITUTE AN OFFENCE.
 
3) CANNABIS SHOULD BE TAKEN OFF THE DANGEROUS DRUGS LIST AND CONTROLLED,RATHER THAN PROHIBITED, BY A NEW AD HOC INSTRUMENT.
 
4) POSSESSION OF CANNABIS SHOULD EITHER BE LEGALLY PERMITTED OR AT MOST BE CONSIDERED A MISDEMEANOUR, PUNISHABLE BY A FINE OF NOT MORE THAN £10 FOR ANY FIRST OFFENCE AND NOT MORE THAN £25 FOR ANY SUBSEQUENT OFFENCE.
 
5) ALL PERSONS NOW IMPRISONED FOR POSSESSION OF CANNABIS OR FOR ALLOWING CANNABIS TO BE SMOKED ON PRIVATE PREMISES SHOULD HAVE THEIR SENTENCES COMMUTED.
 
Jonathan Aitken
Tariq Ali
David Bailey
Humphrey Berkeley
Anthony Blond
Derek Boshier
Sidney Briskin
Peter Brook
Dr. David Copper
Dr. Francis Crick, F.R.S.
David Dimbleby
Tom Driberg, M.P.
Dr. Ian Dunbar
Brian Epstein
Dr. Aaron Esterson
Peter Fryer
John Furnival
Tony Garnett
Clive Goodwin
Graham Greene
Richard Hamilton
George Harrison, M.B.E.
Michael Hastings
Dr. J.M. Heaton
David Hockney
Jeremy Hornsby
Dr. S. Hutt
Francis Huxley
Dr.Brian Inglis
The Revd. Dr. Victor E.S. Kenna, O.B.E.
Herbert Kretzmer
Dr. R.D. Laing
Dr. Calvin Mark Lee
John Lennon, M.B.E.
Dr. D.M. Lewis
Paul McCartney M.B.E.
David McEwan
Alisdair MacIntyre
Dr. O.D. Macrae-Gibson
Tom Maschler
Michael Abdul Malik
George Melly
Dr. Jonathan Miller
Adrian Mitchell
Dr.Ann Mully
P.H.Nowell-Smith
Dr. Christopher Pallis
John Piper
Patrick Procktor
John Pudney
Alistair Reid
L. Jeffrey Selznick
Nathan Silver
Tony Smythe
Michael Schofield
Dr. David Stafford-Clark
Richard Starkey, M.B.E.
Dr. Anthony Storr
Keneth Tynan
Dr.W. Grey Walter
Brian Walden, M.P.
Michael White
Pat Williams

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